British Ceramic Confederation says David Cameron “wrong” about North Staffordshire industry


The British Ceramic Confederation has accused Prime Minister David Cameron of getting his facts wrong about North Staffordshire industry, following a debate in parliament.

PM David Cameron told the Commons “energy intensive industry measures” were “very, very important” to business in Stoke-on-Trent North.

The measures compensate businesses most at risk of carbon leakage, to help offset the additional cost of energy and climate change policies.

But Laura Cohen, chief executive of the British Ceramic Confederation, said Mr Cameron had overstated the importance of the measures to the ceramics industry in North Staffordshire.

She said: “The energy intensive industry measures are indeed  “very very important” for the whole of ceramic industry, yet none of our members in Staffordshire will benefit and just 7 of our member companies nationally, unlike the widespread help given to their competitors in Germany and Italy.”

Mr Cameron made his comments after being challenged by Stoke-on-Trent North MP Ruth Smeeth about the possibility of trade links with China undercutting jobs in the Potteries.

Ms Cohen added: “China is not a market economy – we want free trade but it has to be fair trade.

“The Prime Minister needs to understand that all we want is a level playing field to enable us to compete internationally. He needs to act now to help secure ceramic investment, jobs and businesses.”

During the debate, Ms Smeeth challenged Mr Cameron on plans to grant China Market Economy Status – which critics say could lead to jobs being lost as the Chinese dumped produce in the markets below its real value.

She said:  “Over two and a half thousand people are directly employed by the ceramics industry in Stoke-on-Trent North and Kidsgrove.

“These and tens of thousands of British manufacturing jobs are at risk if China is granted market economy status.

“The Prime Minister is very happy to sell off the family silver but can he guarantee he will not sell off the family crockery?”

Mr Cameron replied: “Even if they get that status they can’t dump steel products or other things into European markets and they can be fine, and what we should be doing is making sure that we’re driving open markets for us to sell to China.

“They are the ones with the massive  growth in the middle class taking place with hundreds of millions of people joining that and there are many great products made in Stoke-on-Trent that should be sold in China.”


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